Lexus vehicles are renowned for delivering a driving environment that promotes a sense of calm and well-being. In fact, Lexus was the first vehicle manufacturer to be awarded a Quiet Mark distinction by the Noise Abatement Society. The new 2016 Lexus RX continues this tradition, and improves upon the already exceptionally quiet cabin of the outgoing third-generation RX.
Part of this improvement is through the implementation of cutting-edge technologies that optimise the luxury SUV’s structural integrity as well its overall rigidity, while the rest can be attributed to design and engineering updates that focus on reducing noise and vibration.
With regards to the model’s construction, the rigid joining processes (see image above) Lexus has applied include increasing the strength of adjoining panels through the use of high-tech body adhesives and laser screw welding techniques.
High-tensile strength steel is used liberally throughout the vehicle (sections coloured orange in image above), including key areas such as the cross members (image below is the cross member between A-pillar and front cowl) and pillars. These form part of a new building process called annular frame construction, which reinforces the vital ring around the doors for improved strength.
In addition to contributing to better handling and a quieter cabin, these measures have the added benefit of improving occupant safety thanks to increased structural rigidity throughout the platform.
So numerous are the design and engineering refinements in the reducing of noise, vibration and harshness (often known as NVH) that we need to divide the new 2016 Lexus RX into three areas: front, middle and rear.
Front section of the vehicle:
- Wind noise around the A-pillars has been reduced by redirecting airflow around the door mirrors.
- A urethane shielding plate has been placed within the inner front wheel well to reduce the penetration of engine noise into the cabin, while a new housing material deadens noise from the road and the resonation of deflected debris.
- New, thicker insulation material has been applied under the bonnet for better sound deadening.
- The surface area to which insulation is applied on the cowling under the windscreen has been increased, while the number of holes made in this material for components has been reduced.
- Apron silencers fitted to the inner arches have been enlarged by 10-20 per cent to reduce engine noise from entering the passenger compartment.
Middle section of the vehicle:
- Acoustic glass is installed in the front and rear doors for better sound insulation and reduced noise and vibration.
- Sound absorbing materials are applied beneath the dashboard, glovebox and centre console sections.
- Highly rigid sound-damping coatings have been applied throughout the vehicle’s floor pan for improved sound insulation with reduced weight.
- Foam, sponge and vibration-damping materials have been strategically positioned around the sills, B-pillar and roof rail sections. This is in addition to sound absorbing and insulating materials applied throughout the doors, roof and floor sections.
- The weather strips around the front and rear doors have been redesigned and include full-edge double door seals.
Rear section of the vehicle:
- The rear body frame around the C-pillars and the body sections surrounding the rear hatchback door area have been completely redesigned and repositioned to make significant improvements in the suppression of lateral vibrations from within the rear wheel housings.
- Additional foam is placed within the C-pillar area for reduced wind noise.